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Skills for Life

The Promoting Life Skills and Livelihoods project commonly referred to as Skills for Life (S4L) was designed to strengthen the income-generating capabilities of youth (both refugee and from the host community) in Kakuma by enhancing their technical, financial, life and literacy skills to improve their chances of an enriched livelihood.



The Skills for Life project has in the past been carried through in two phases. The first pilot phase was implemented from 2013 to 2015 and was funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).


Swisscontact took up the role of lead implementor in close collaboration with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). As a result of the great impact the project made during the pilot phase, a 1-year extension was given which saw the project activities proceed till June 2016.


The second phase, fully funded by SDC, was implemented by Swisscontact from July 2016 and was executed till June 2019. An additional 2-month extension was granted at the end of June 2019 to enable the project to prepare for a third implementation phase.

Alexander Kiptanui, Project Manager

"I have always had a passion for working with marginalised communities; offering them a chance to view life differently and create a better future for themselves. My role as the Project Manager for the Skills for Life project was timely and came two years after working in Dadaab Refugee Camp, Garissa County.

My role is dynamic as I am responsible for the overall implementation of the project; ensuring proper coordination of planned activities by staff and with partner agencies while fulfilling the project's objective of target beneficiaries accessing quality training sessions. Working in a fragile environment is an exciting challenge and when I step back and observe the impact the project is making, I feel fulfilled. A typical day begins with catching up with the project team and discussing emerging issues which if not addressed, could affect the project. We brainstorm on workable solutions to challenges we face while in the field and discuss the next steps in detail." > More


More detailed maps: Kakuma refugee camp and Kalobeyei settlement

Overall Results and Impact

Since its inception, the project saw the delivery of technical skills training to 3,096 beneficiaries who generated a total income of CHF 135,411 from their businesses. Many youths benefitted from the project intervention of increasing access to financial services through group savings and lending activities. By the end of the second phase, CHF 672,299 had been loaned out and allocated to attend to different needs. More



Lessons Learnt

Even if the project’s mandate was limited to strengthening the income-generating capabilities of youth, it acknowledged that this alone could not holistically benefit the refugees as they faced immense uncertainties trying to return to normalcy in a foreign land. Language barriers, lack of basic needs and a sense of belonging, poor living conditions, unemployment and culture shock are some of the challenges they face every day. The Skills for Life project team found it necessary to partner with other stakeholders who offer psychosocial support services and often referred beneficiaries who needed help. Ultimately, those who were supported displayed better engagement in the training sessions and business group integration as they viewed themselves as active survivors rather than passive victims.  More



Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zürich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97
E-Mail info@STOP-SPAM.swisscontact.ch